Tributes have been paid to the first ever North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner who was hailed as a “true policing pioneer” as he left office.
Caernarfon-born Winston Roddick CB QC decided not to stand for re-election so that he can spend more time with his family, particularly his young grandchildren.
Mr Roddick made history when he was elected in November 2012 when he stood as an independent candidate.
Despite massive budget cut-backs, his time in office has seen an overall reduction in crime of 11.7 per cent while victim-based crime has fallen by 10.5 per cent.
During the same period, the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of North Wales has decreased by 17 per cent.
Specialist teams were also established to combat emerging problems like child sexual exploitation and cyber-crime.
Mr Roddick will be succeeded by Arfon Jones who topped the poll to replace him.
At a presentation ceremony at police HQ in Colwyn Bay, the tributes were led by Chief Constable Mark Polin.
He said: “I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Winston, based on mutual respect and understanding.
“We have worked together during what has been a very difficult period for police forces everywhere, but throughout everything Winston’s focus remained on the things that matter most to local people.
“People and community have been at the heart of his work and it is clear when speaking to colleagues and partners that he is well respected.
“In his role as PCC, Winston introduced a constructive scrutiny and a strong victim focus which has contributed to improving the way we police in North Wales.
“He leaves behind a professional legacy with lasting values which stand North Wales Police in good stead to meet a number of key challenges.
“During his time in office we have introduced teams to deal specifically with rural crime, cybercrime and CSE, these, along with the Victims’ Hub, provide a firm foundation for our new PCC, Arfon Jones, to build on.
“On behalf of officers and staff I wish him the very best for the future.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Flintshire County Councillor Glenys Diskin, Chair of the North Wales Police and Crime Panel which oversees the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
She said: “He has done an excellent job as Commissioner and worked very hard.
“It’s always very difficult to be the first person in a role but people respect him and have found him very fair and very approachable, always ready to listen and willing to explain.
“He has a great deal of experience and wisdom and he is a genuinely nice person and that makes a big difference.
“He will be a very hard act to follow and we have been fortunate in North Wales to have him as our very first Police and Crime Commissioner.”
There was also praise from Stephen Hughes, the Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, who described Mr Roddick as a “true policing pioneer”.
Mr Hughes said: “Mr Roddick has carried out the role of PCC tremendously well since being elected in November 2012.
“His list of achievements are long, including a significant reduction in crime over his term in office, protecting the frontline during a time of unprecedented financial cutbacks and the introduction of the Rural Crime Team which has received national and international recognition.
“However, his lasting legacy I believe is the care and support now afforded to victims of crime in north Wales.
“The Victim Help Centre launched in 2015 has already helped thousands of victims and many more will continue to benefit from its services.
“Victims of the most serious offences of domestic violence and sexual abuse have also benefitted from improved services because of the funding made available by Mr Roddick. This is all the more impressive when one considers there was no precedent and this has been a new path for all commissioners to walk”.
A native of Caernarfon, Mr Roddick originally worked as a police constable in Liverpool, before studying law at University College London from where he graduated as a Master of Laws.
Mr Roddick went on to carve out an illustrious career as a barrister, taking ‘silk’ as a Queen’s Counsel in 1986 and later becoming the Leader of the Wales and Chester Circuit, a Recorder of the Crown Court and the first Honorary Recorder of Caernarfon.
In 1986, as a member of the first Welsh Language Board, he was responsible for drafting the report which led to the passing of the Welsh Language Act of that year. He was appointed as the first Counsel General of Wales in 1998, the most senior legal adviser to the Welsh Assembly.
He was also the first independent chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and the first chair of the Police Reform and Transformation Board for England and Wales.
Mr Roddick said: “I have been deeply touched by the kind words and many messages of thanks that I have received as my term of office draws to a close.
“I was honoured to be elected as the first PCC for North Wales and it is a hugely challenging role that I have greatly enjoyed.
“I am immensely grateful for the wonderful support I have received from my family and, of course, the exceptionally talented team in my office.
“The idea of police and crime commissioners was entirely new when I started so there was no precedent and therefore you have to do the best you can to plough your own furrow in a way that produces and effective and efficient police service and reduces crime.
“It’s been the success that it has because North Wales Police and my office have worked as one team to considerable effect. The understanding between me as a Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable, the relationship between us, and the relationship between my office and the senior officers, has been exemplary.”
“I’m not getting any younger and the burdens of this job are going to increase and therefore I think I’ve done my bit. It’s now the turn of somebody else and I would like to wish my successor, Arfon Jones, every success in future. “